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Archive 2001

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Friday, October 19, 2001

Three indicted for fatal stabbing at bar

Staff Writer
PECOS, Fri., Oct. 19, 2001 -- A 143rd District Court grand jury indicted three Pecos men Thursday for a September murder, during their meeting Thursday afternoon in District Court at the Reeves County Courthouse.

Esquiel Olguin Ornelas, 45, Manuel Martinez Salcido, 51, and Raul Fuentez Martinez, 48, were indicted for intentionally and knowingly causing the death of Albino Levario Tarango by stabbing him with a knife or knives.

Tarango, 44, of Pecos died at Reeves County Hospital after being stabbed during a fight at La Oficina Bar on Sept. 29.

Pecos Police Investigator Kelly Davis said at the time of the stabbing that police officers were called to the bar at 1:33 a.m.

"Upon arrival, officers found a stabbing victim," he said and the three men were then arrested

Davis said that police believe that the stabbing was the result of a fight started inside the bar.

Tarango was taken to Reeves County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead by Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace J.T. Marsh.

The three men were arrested in connection to the fight and charged with murder-a first degree felony, according to the Pecos Police blotter.

All three are being held at Reeves County Jail with Ornelas and Salcido under a $75,000 bond and Martinez under a $35,000 bond.

Building changes on commissioners Monday agenda

PECOS, Fri., Oct. 19, 2001 -- Support services building finish-out change orders for the Reeves County Detention Center will be among the topics of discussion at the regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting.

The group will meet at 9:30 a.m., Monday, in the third floor courtroom and the public is invited to attend.

Commissioners will discuss and take action on Reeves County Support Building Finish Out change order 1-3; a resolution declaring November, National Alzheimer's Disease Month; Texas Association of Counties request for re-appraisal of RCDC insurance valuation; Reeves County Sheriff Office lease contract on two stalker units and Reeves County Sheriff Office lease contract with Ford Municipal Leasing on two patrol cars.

The group will discuss and take action on space savers for Reeves County Sheriff's Office, a contract agreement between Reeves County and Midland County and deputation and oath for Jonathan Bradley Rider.

Regular agenda items include:

Reports from various departments.

Budget amendments and line-item transfers.

Personnel and salary change (RCDC, task force, sheriff's office).

Minutes from previous meetings.

Semi-monthly bills.

Spread on the minutes: Notice of over-axle/over gross weight permits.

Eagle Band preparing for Ratliff competition

Staff Writer
PECOS, Fri., Oct. 19, 2001 -- The Pecos High School Mighty Eagle Band spent their last morning before the Region 6 UIL Marching Contest working out kinks in their performance today at Eagle Stadium.

Head Band Director Merle Lenfest said that the band would meet at 1 p.m., Saturday afternoon to practice one last time for approximately two hours before loading up and heading to Odessa, where they will perform at 7:30 p.m., at Ratliff Stadium.

Bands from all over the area are scheduled to perform tomorrow, however, only two other Class 4A schools, Big Spring and Andrews, will be performing along with Pecos.

About six years ago UIL changed rules for contest where schools would only be able to advance to area every other year.

Lenfest said that Pecos is eligible for advance this year and possibly next year as well.

"Next year we would be able to because we're going to drop to 3A," he said.

If the Eagle Band advances to Area Marching Contest, they would perform once again in Ratliff Stadium on Oct. 27.

Lenfest said that the kids do have their work cut out for them but he knows that they will do their best.

"What the kids do is really hard," he said. "It's got to be perfect and that's a hard thing to get to."

"I've never preached a rating at the kids," he said. "As long as they do their best."

Lenfest said that he chose to come to Pecos because he saw so much potential in the students here.

"I wouldn't have come here if I didn't see a lot of potential," he said.

Lenfest said that since being here he has been under a lot of pressure to bring the band back up to the level that it was when Bill Carrico directed it.

However, he said that it would take time and a lot more learning before the band would reach that level but he is confident that it will happen.

"We've got work to do," he said. "We can bring that back. We just can't learn to play a horn overnight."

Pecos did advance to regional competition two years ago after competing at Area competition at Socorro Stadium in El Paso, but failed to score a Division I rating last fall at El Paso, where they marched against 11 other Class 4A bands.

Lenfest said that he is proud of how the students have handled his arrival and how hard they are working.

"I'm real proud of them," he said. "Change is hard. But for the most part they've tried real hard for me."

However, Lenfest said that sometimes he thinks the students get frustrated with him because he does push them so hard but that in his experience that is what gets results.

"I think the reason I've always gotten a lot out of kids is because I expect a lot," he said. "If you expect a little, you get a little."

The band has spent the last few weeks adjusting to the loss of 60 students due to ineligibility, leaving approximately 120 students to perform tomorrow.

Lenfest said that he was prepared to lose a few students due to failing grades but was surprised at the number he did lose.

"I never dreamed it would be a third of the band," he said.

One student that will be performing tomorrow with the band is Jessica Thomasson.

Thomasson was not able to perform in contest last year because she is blind, but Lenfest said that he believes that people with handicaps should be able to perform.

Thomasson will march with the other band members with guidance from Heather Abila.

"She is a remarkable person," Lenfest said, speaking of Thomasson.

He said he just needs to make sure the judges understand that Abila is down on the field with the intent of helping Thomasson.

Lenfest said that unlike many athletics, who prepare to compete numerous times, the band has been preparing all season for five minutes of competition and he expects that the students will be nervous once they are on the field tomorrow.

"I don't think you're normal if you don't get nervous," he said.

However, he is trying to not be nervous for them until after the competition is over so the students will be able to concentrate.

"I try to not be nervous so they can concentrate on what they have to do," he said.

Admission to the UIL Area Marching Contest at Ratliff Stadium is $2 for adults and $1 for students.

School district eyes changing power provider

Staff Writer
PECOS, Fri., Oct. 19, 2001 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board voted to seek Requests for Proposals (RFP) for an electricity contract for P-B-T schools, during a special meeting held Thursday evening in the board room.

Superintendent Don Love presented the board with information on energy for school districts, in connection with the upcoming deregulation of electricity rates in Texas. Under the new system, schools, along with other government bodies and local citizens can select their power provider from companies around Texas. The plan is scheduled to go into effect at the end of the year.

Love told the group that the school district currently spends about $480,000 on electricity.

"I've spoken to Energy for Schools as well as neighboring school districts to see what they are doing about this," said Love. "Energy for Schools have asked us to make a decision tonight."

Energy for Schools is made up of a number of school districts across Texas that are pooling together to seek the lowest price for electricity. Love said that he has also been talking to First Choice, which provides the energy portion for local-based Texas-New Mexico Power Company. T-NMP currently supplies electricity to the schools, but could lose that contract under deregulation.

"I don't know how this will affect the local office," said Love.

"They have one power plant and provide 30 percent of the electricity," said Love. "It's the RFP's that have to be really compatible and they have four employees downtown that may possibly be affected by this decision."

Love said job cuts could be made if the school district switches companies, because P-B-T provides the utility with 20 percent of its local business.

"But again, nothing's set in stone," he said.

Love provided a comparison from First Choice and Energy for Schools that showed a $45,549 difference in pricing, with Energy for Schools being more economical.

"There's a lot of unanswered questions, that's why we choose a procurement method for the school," said Love.

Love said that there was no doubt in his mind that the school would get at least one proposal.

Love provided the board with an example of an RFP. "We can put in things that we find important and you can write in there the effect on the community," said Love.

Love said that if the board decided to go out for RFP's, it would need to make a decision by Nov. 8.

"We could get the ad in on Tuesday and then open the bids the following week, on Nov. 6 and make a decision at the regular board meeting scheduled for Nov. 8," he said.

Love said that Energy for Schools has about 130 school districts signed up already. "They'll probably have some that back out at the last minute, or want to join in at the last minute," he said.

School finance director Cookie Canon said that the school has $488,000 budgeted for electricity.

In other action Thursday, board members agreed to go with Competitive Sealed Proposals for construction work planned at different schools.

Construction will include Bessie Haynes Elementary asbestos removal, Bessie Haynes Elementary HVAC replacement; Pecos Kindergarten carpet replacement; Pecos High School auditorium asbestos removal, Pecos High School asbestos removal; Pecos High School renovations and tennis court renovations.

"With competitive sealed proposals it gives us more leeway," said Love.

Jobless rate for county falls below 5 percent

Staff Writer
PECOS, Fri., Oct. 19, 2001 -- Reeves County's unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level since the oil boom years of the 1980s last month, according to figures released Thursday by the Texas Workforce Commission.

However, declining oil prices cause by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States could lead to a drop in oil production in the Permian Basin, which has seen higher oil and gas prices translate into increased drilling activity and more jobs over the last two years.

Reeves County's jobless rate, which was as high at 13½ percent a little over two years ago, came in at 4.9 percent in September, the TWC said. The rate was down .8 percent from the 5.7 percent jobless rate in August.

A drop of 155 workers in the local labor force was more than the decline of 82 jobs in the county between August and September, the TWC said. There were 7,248 people in the workforce and 371 unemployed, while a year ago, the TWC said the county's jobless rate was 7.9 percent, with 7,130 people in the labor force and 608 unemployed.

The rise in oil and natural gas prices since January of 1999 has fueled a drop in unemployment during that same period of time. But despite a sharp one-day spike in energy prices as the result of the Sept. 11 attacks, the overall decline in the U.S. and world economy since the has caused a drop in oil prices over the past month.

West Texas Intermediate oil prices hovered around the $21.50 mark today on commodities markets, down about $9 a barrel from earlier this year, while the price of unleaded regular gasoline in some parts of South Texas has dropped below $1 a barrel for the first time in two years. The lower prices could lead to a decline in drilling activity in the Permian Basin over the upcoming months.

The Town of Pecos City's unemployment rate dropped a full percentage point in September, from 6.6 to 5.6 percent, and is down from 9 percent in Septmber of 2000. Pecos had 5,592 people with jobs and 332 without last month, while in August there were 5,655 people working and 397 unemployed. A year ago, the city had fewer jobs, but a larger workforce, leaving 544 people unemployed and 5,501 with jobs.

Reeves County's jobless rate is still above the level of the Permian Basin overall, but has dropped below the state's jobless rate for the first time since the early 1980s. The TWC said Permian Basin unemployment was at 4.1 percent in September, down from 4.4 percent in August and 5.2 percent last September, while Texas' unemployment rate was 5.1 percent last month, which was unchanged from August and up from 4.2 percent in September of 2000, as the slowing economy cause job losses in high-tech and other business sectors in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and Austin areas.

Parks holding events for Lone Star Legacy weekend

PECOS, Fri., Oct. 19, 2001 -- Area state parks will celebrate Stone Star Legacy this weekend, with a variety of events for the entire family.

Balmorhea State Park will host a seminar on gardening with native plants on Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon, and guided tours of the San Solomon Cienega and Phantom Cave Springs will be conducted on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. each day.

Indian Lodge west of Fort Davis will again host the Trans-Pecos Art Fair and Open House on Saturday, Oct. 20, with area artists displaying arts and crafts for sale from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Refreshments, door prizes, and special entertainment will be featured throughout the day, and a specially priced Mexican buffet will be served in the Black Bear Restaurant from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Visitors will also have the opportunity to participate in a silent auction for several unique and decorative items.

Also on Saturday, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., Davis Mountains State Park will present, "Camping 101," an introduction to the skills and equipment needed for a fund and successful camping trip. The course will include selecting equipment, outdoor cooking and hands-on activities. Children will be able to participate in "Outdoor Adventures for Kids" from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., with fun, conservation-based activities designed to teach an understanding of the natural world.

Lone Star Legacy Weekend is designed to raise public awareness of and financial support for all sites operated by Texas Parks and Wildlife. Although no entrance fees will be charged, tax-deductible donations may be made to a specific parks' endowment fund, or may be mailed to the Parks and Wildlife Foundation of Texas, Box 191207, Dalls, Tx. 75219.

For more information on any of the Lone Star Legacy Weekend events, call Balmorhea State Park at 915-375-2370; Indian Lodge at 915-426-3254, or Davis Mountains State Park at 915-426-3337.


PECOS, Fri., Oct. 19, 2001 -- High Thursday 95. Low this morning 53. Forecast for tonight: Clear. Lows 45 to 50. Southeast winds 5 to 10 mph. Saturday: Sunny. Highs near 85. Southeast winds 10 to 15 mph. Saturday night: Mostly clear. Lows 50 to 55. Sunday: Mostly sunny. Highs 85 to 90. Monday: Partly cloudy. Lows 50 to 55. Highs 80 to 85.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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